Acne Regret #1: Overdoing it with actives and prescriptions

Over the past decade I’ve made a number of regrettable decisions when it comes to treating my acne, and I wanted to share these regrets in a series of posts for all my of acneic friends out there!

I used to blast my skin with every sort of active ingredient and prescription ointment known to humankind because I was so frustrated with the negative feedback I received about the way my acne looked, and the physical irritation of cystic acne was no joy either. Because of this, my skin barrier was super fragile and my skin became quite dehydrated, red, and sad. My skin never had a moment to breathe and repair itself, and it showed. •

In a bout of desperate online searching I came across @liahyoo ‘s video “Clear Acne without Acne Treatment: Minimal Acne Skincare Routine”, and it entirely changed the way I viewed and treated my skin. Following Liah’s instructions I tried downsizing my skincare routine to just a cleanser, toner, hydrating product, and sunscreen for a number of weeks to see what would happen.

This little skin rest gave my skin barrier a chance to chill the hell out, and my skin became less irritated and dehydrated. Only after a long break using just the basics did I begin to gradually (VERY gradually) incorporate AHAs and retinol back into my routine. Even now that my skin is relatively clear, I still revert back to my barebones routine of @tatcha Deep Cleanse, @herbivorebotanicals Jasmine Green Tea Balancing Green Tea Toner, @zoskinhealth Rozatrol Normalizing Serum for red, sensitized skin, and whatever sunscreen isn’t breaking me out at the moment.

If you’re in the same boat I was, or are overwhelmed by the hoard of skincare products in your bathroom cabinet, sometimes it’s nice to just press pause and keep it simple for a bit. It’s been a long, LONG process but I’ve finally gotten my skin to a point where it doesn’t physically irritate me, I have minimal breakouts, and my redness is at a fairly manageable, healthy level.

Finished Five: Saje Bath Salts and Makeup Remover, Herbivore Body Oil, Okanagan Lavender Farm, and Christophe Robin Hair Mask

Hello, WordPress friends! I have been polishing off products at warp speed lately, which is excellent as I am soon to be drowning in even more skincare products with more skincare lines being introduced at my workplace. (Related side note: has anyone tried Vivier, and what are their thoughts on the brand overall? Any specific products for younger, oilier skin that were great?) I threw out a bunch of garbage, half-used products that never worked well, donated a bunch of unused makeup/sanitized skincare and makeup, books, clothing, and random household items to a local cat rescue’s garage sale, and I am feeling so much lighter. Although I’ve downsized my belongings greatly, I’m still continuing to go through everything and purge what doesn’t fit and doesn’t work, and make room for new things and breathing room. It’s been such a great feeling! And to add onto this spree of downsizing, the theme of today appears to be hydration and body care, so here are five more hydrating and healing empties that I will be clearing out:
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  1. Name: Herbivore Citrine Glowing Hydration Body Oil
    Price: CAD $55.00
    Size: 4oz/118mL
    Certified Cruelty-Free by Leaping Bunny and PETA
    Noteworthy Ingredients: Jojoba Oil, Meadowfoam Oil, Rosehip Oil, Apricot Seed Oil, Capric Triglyceride, Neroli Oil, Orange Blossom Oil, Rose Absolute, Vitamin E Oil.
    The smell of this product is so whimsically sweet and summery that I likely used way more of it at a time than I should have. If you don’t want to smell like a sweet little Starburst however, I don’t recommend purchasing this product. I love that this product has rosehip oil, as it is so hydrating and protectant of the skin. BUT this product is pricey as all hell and did not last me a super long time. It could be because I live in a very dry climate, or that my legs are a kilometre long and I applied this to literally every safe area of my body, but I purchased this during the Sephora VIB sale on April 13th and used it up by the end of May. I likely could have made this last a little bit longer by being more conservative with my usage, but again, it is very dry here. If you want to splurge though, by all means go for it! It is a lovely little product.
    Would I repurchase? In the future, possibly. At the moment I’m still trying to use up other hydrating products, am a smidge on the broke side, and have a growing list of other high-end body care products I’d like to try out first.
  2. Name: Saje Bare Face Complete Makeup Remover
    Price: CAD $19.95
    Size: 6.8 fl oz/200 mL
    Cruelty-Free and “Natural”
    Less Than Noteworthy Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Lavender
    DO NOT PURCHASE. I’m still internally screaming at myself for purchasing this! What happened was when I still worked at Saje, the Bare Face Makeup Remover was a brand new product that we were really trying to hype up in the store. My coworker, bless her heart, had tried this product and had loved it and was just so happy with her skin, and attributed a recent bout of softer skin to this product, although I’m sure recent dietary changes, exercising more, and other really healthy, incredible steps she had taken in her life around that time should have taken more credit. Despite reading the ingredient list, despite knowing how horrendous coconut oil is for the face, I still took her advice and bought the product. Within two days this product broke me out. I stopped using it for awhile, tried using it again to see if it had been a fluke, and nope, another breakout. I repeated this product half a dozen times and still ended up with breakouts each time. I knew better, I just did not listen to my gut. I don’t recommend using coconut oil on your face ever, even as a makeup remover, but if you’re going to, you can get lavender coconut oil for way cheaper literally anywhere. Even aloe vera, another main ingredient, can be purchased for much cheaper in a much larger size at literally any health food store. Saje is very hit and miss–they have some really excellent, well-formulated products, and they have some really horrible, slapped-together-last-minute-by-research-and-design products, and this unfortunately is the latter.
    Will I repurchase? Hell no. I love myself more than that. In fact, I don’t recommend using the majority of their face products other than their eye cream and their herbal balm. Essential oils can be great in skincare if formulated the right way, but their facial products are not formulated well and cause a lot of sensitivity in even people who aren’t that sensitive. I’ve had very few allergic reactions in my lifetime but I have had a few to products like Saje’s Rose Renewal.
  3. Name: Saje Après Sport Bath Salts
    Price: CAD $24.95
    Size: 620g
    Cruelty-Free and “Natural”
    Noteworthy Ingredients: Eucalyptus, Epsom Salts, Rosemary.
    After I spent a good paragraph tearing Saje a new one, here is a product I really adore from Saje! My mom first got me into these bath salts, and she is the ultimate connoisseur of bath salts. This is a great soak for when you are aching and sore, coping with an injury, or if you work on your feet all day. You don’t need to pour in much, maybe a few capfuls, and I don’t recommend sitting in the tub for more than 30-45 minutes, as you can grow a bit numb with these salts. If you do want to wallow in the bath for hours on end, make sure someone is home to help haul your naked butt out of the tub if you get stuck! These were a life saver in dealing with a shoulder/back injury that has been plaguing me since the beginning of 2018.
    Will I repurchase again? Next payday I’m ordering these from Saje!
  4. Name: Okanagan Lavender Farm Hand Salve No. 32
    Price: CAD $16.95
    Size: 30g
    Cruelty-Free and “Natural”
    Only Two Ingredients: Fair Trade Shea Nut Butter and Pure Lavender Essential Oil
    Is this product super simplistic? Could you likely mix it together on your own? Yes and yes. But they have the perfect balance of lavender and shea, the lavender is good quality, Canadian-grown lavender, and this stuff works. Great for cuticles, cracked feet, elbows, or severely dehydrated skin. You only need a sliver of product to cover your entire hands, so this product lasted me nearly a year. It comes in a small tin that you can easily tuck into your purse or bag, and reuse to store odds and ends like bobby pins or earrings once used up. When I first purchased the product I thought the price was steep, but it lasted forever and I really enjoyed the aromatherapeutic benefits of the lavender, so I’m not complaining now. All of their products are small batch and hand crafted, and I have enjoyed every facial and body product I’ve purchased from Okanagan Lavender Farms. I mean I’m likely biased because I am obsessed with lavender, but if you’re a lavender fanatic as well, I think you’ll enjoy this.
    Will I repurchase? I think so!
  5. Name: Christophe Robin Regenerating Masque with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil
    Price and Size: Free Deluxe Sample 50mL Travel Size
    Noteworthy Ingredient: Prickly Pear Seed Oil
    This mask is beyond expensive and beyond bougie but it makes your hair so soft. I have thick, loose curls and find that my hair is often dehydrated from over-showering, living in a dry climate, and curling it with a curling wand. After the winter my hair was quite brittle and sad, and this helped get it back to feeling good. I caved and purchased the full size once this little guy ran out, but it does last a long time. You don’t need to use much, and you only need to use it once or twice a week at most. When my hair was longer I’d use a glob the size of two quarters, but now that I’ve chopped off some length I use about one quarter’s size.
    Would I repurchase? I technically already did!

Sephora restock conspiracy theory

Is it just me, or does this seem to happen every single VIB sale?

There will be a hot ticket item or items, usually something that has just launched or has been popular on YouTube. They sell out of it pretty much as soon as the sale starts, and then as soon as the sale ends, it is magically restocked.

That’s what happened for me with the Becca Hydramist powder. Not even two and a half hours after the sale ended here, the item was suddenly restocked after having been out of stock since about the second day of the first VIB Rouge sale. Like you can’t tell me that they suddenly got the shipment of it in at 2am Monday morning and decided to update the website then. Even if they did, could they not have put it up as “restocked” on the website knowing that it would arrive in time to be shipped if people ordered it from the sale, especially considering they have posted the warning about delayed shipping?

I honestly believe that they time restocks of hot ticket items until just after the sale to prompt consumers to make another purchase after they’ve already made one or multiple purchases at the sale. I’m sure within the next few days I’ll see restocks of other popular items from Herbivore and Tatcha that were gushed about on YouTube prior to the sale.

Anyone else super frustrated by this always happening, regardless of whether or not it’s on purpose?

Smashed a highlighter to look like a sun goddess

Tonight has been one of those nights where I know I have a long list of things I ought to be getting done, but I feel so physically and emotionally wiped that I just know even if I attempt to do them, they won’t be done right and I’ll feel even more out of it. So, feeling inspired by all the Body Lava by Fenty hype, I decided to do a tiny arts and crafts session and smash a highlighter to make my own glowing concoction.

The Body Lava Luminizer, although divine, is so painfully expensive. CAD $69 just seems like too much to make my body shimmer, especially when it’s only warm here for about two months of the year and the rest of the year my body is covered up in layers of sweaters and winter despair. It’s a fun product though, and it reminds me of the Bath and Body Works glitter spray days of my youth (e.g., six years ago, LOL). So I decided to whip up my own shimmery body product.

I recently ordered the Herbivore Citrine Body Oil (CAD $46) and I’m in love! The smell is so sweet and summery, and it soaks into my skin and leaves it glowing and plump. I easily could have used any other oil I had kicking around (sweet almond, argan, etc.) but I have no idea where my bulk sized bottle of sweet almond oil ran off to, so this is what I used.


Secondly, I’ve had the Grav3yardgirl Swamp Queen palette from Tarte for a few years, originally purchased because I swatched the Gator Wings highlight in Sephora with a few friends and we all freaked out over it. However, I never think to use this palette so that lovely little highlighter has just been sitting there, lonely and forlorn, not realizing any of its potential.

So I smashed that baby up, awkwardly deposited the fragments of highlighter into my Citrine bottle with a pair of tweezers, shook it up, and then repressed the highlighter with a bit of rubbing alcohol.

The results?
Glitter on my pajamas, makeup chair, hands, face, cat, everything. And a cute little bottle of shimmery body oil! My photography skills are not good enough to capture the shimmer via photo, but it left a subtle sparkle on my skin. Not Fenty level shimmer, but a gentle sparkle that with make my skin look like a sun goddess without making me look like a disco ball.